Students Engage in Community Service to Honor MLK

On Friday, January 27, Colgate students gathered to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Afternoon of Service. This Afternoon of Service, organized by the Max Shacknai Center for Outreach and Volunteerism Education (COVE), was the perfect opportunity for students to be involved with various community partners while commemorating the life of the beloved civil rights leader.

Throughout his life, Martin Luther King Jr. created a legacy of utilizing volunteer service to strengthen communities and improve the lives of others. COVE’s Afternoon of Service honors King’s impact on American society, inspiring Colgate students to be selfless.

Students could choose to begin service at 12:15 p.m. or 1:15 p.m., and they returned to campus by 5:00 p.m. Volunteering took place at various sites throughout Hamilton, Madison, Clinton and Utica, with provided transportation.

One of the community partners was Friends of Rogers, a non-profit group in Sherburne, New York, affiliated with the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Rogers Environmental Education Center. Open since the late 1960s, the organization offers educational activities and public programs to teach people about the amazing diversity of the natural world. Colgate students volunteered there by helping organize, clean and alphabetize costumes of wildlife. Some students helped out at other community organizations.

“I volunteered at Community Bikes in Hamilton, NY which refurbishes bikes for people who can’t afford them or lack transportation. It was a really heartwarming experience. The guy we worked with, Duane, had us clean bikes for little kids. He was super passionate, telling us about the looks on kids’ faces when they see their new bikes,” sophomore Isabelle DiBiase said.

Student leaders assigned to each service group were responsible for taking photos, distributing service reflection forms, and communicating with the group.

Student volunteers received boxed lunches and complimentary MLK t-shirts.

Similar service days have been organized by the COVE in previous semesters, but for many students it was their first time participating in this specific event. It proved to be a unique chance to take a break from typical volunteering commitments or academic involvements and learn something new about the

surrounding community.

“This was my first time volunteering for the MLK Day of Service, and I greatly enjoyed my time working with other Colgate students and meeting the community partner for the Morrisville Community Church. We tidied up the church by cleaning windows, vacuuming and polishing the pews. We got to learn more about our community partner and how she has contributed to the local community,”

sophomore Molly Lieberman said.

Students appreciated the push to get involved in communities outside

of Hamilton. The Afternoon of Service helped connect students with a diverse selection of organizations, which help countless individuals.

“I really loved hearing about what the organization does for the community and surrounding area, and I thought it was an awesome way of giving back, since Colgate is a big part of this community. I just love helping people. In a way, it’s selfish because it makes me feel good,” DiBiase said.

In the context of history and current events, honoring such a prominent civil rights figure for the afternoon was incredibly rewarding for Colgate students. Promoting compassion and empathy are some of the most important things in life, and community service is often the best way to enrich your own soul by lessening the burden in the lives of others.

“Given that Martin Luther King Jr. devoted so much of his life working to create a better and stronger society, helping the local community was a perfect way to remember and honor his

achievements,” Lieberman said.